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Cleveland Cavaliers: The Different Samardo Samuels

Samardo Samuels knew long before he played basketball, he was already different. A Jamaican who was born in a small town of Trelawny, and played in New Jersey as a high school star at Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark. It seems to be like a typical American tale. However, his 6'8" and 265 lb. frame seems to be the big difference in terms of playing the center or the power/small forward positions.

Even though Samuels was ranked higher than Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday, Demar Derozan and Al-Farouq Aminu as one of the top recruits going to college, he knew he would have to work very hard just to get to the top. There are a lot of “tweeners” (a player who has some, but not all of the necessary characteristics for each of two or more positions) who actually came out to be successful. But it’s not actually inspiring for a 6'8" center.

DeJuan Blair is an anomaly only being 6'7", but still came out successful with the San Antonio Spurs as Tim Duncan’s backup. However, Samuels was not projected as the hardworking and hustling type of player like Blair. Samuels was raw, and lacked the lateral quickness to guard the perimeter. However, it was never a reason for him to give up, even if he came out undrafted after only two years of playing in college.

Basketball is not only about how big or tall you are. It’s still about how you play the game.

He may be undersized, but his vast basketball IQ, wide body and strength seem to be enough to make it big in the NBA.

There have been doubts, but after a good showing in the 2010 Summer League, Samuels was able to sign a three-year, $2.3 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Cleveland was Samuels’ perfect place—a city that is slowly moving on from the pains and frustrations when LeBron James opted to sign with the Miami Heat last summer. Cleveland is a city that seems desperate for a miracle to happen.

Samardo made his first career start when his team played against the San Antonio Spurs after Antawn Jamison got injured.  He scored 23 points while grabbing 10 rebounds in a losing effort. However, it was a new realization. The Cavaliers finally found a gem after digging on a mountain of rocks. A 6'8" “tweener” is not a solution to the Cavs losing season, but it’s a sign of hope that everything will turn out to be okay at the end, regardless of the situation they are in.

It pays to be different…and the undersized center Samardo Samuels is an understatement.

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